6 user 1 critic

The Crimson Canary (1945)

Approved | | Mystery | 9 November 1945 (USA)
Members of a Jazz Band come under suspicion when a beautiful nightclub singer is murdered.


John Hoffman


Peggy Phillips (screenplay), Henry Blankfort (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview:
Noah Beery Jr. ... Danny Brooks
Lois Collier ... Jean Walker
John Litel ... Roger Quinn
Steven Geray ... Vic Miller
Claudia Drake ... Anita Lane
Danny Morton Danny Morton ... Johnny
Jimmie Dodd ... Chuck (as James Dodd)
Steve Brodie ... Hillary
John Kellogg ... Keys
Arthur Space ... Detective Carlyle
Josh White Josh White ... Josh White
Esquire All-American Band Winners Esquire All-American Band Winners ... The Esquire All-American Band
Coleman Hawkins ... Coleman Hawkins
Oscar Pettiford Oscar Pettiford ... Oscar Pettiford


Members of a Jazz Band come under suspicion when a beautiful nightclub singer is murdered.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


RHYTHM CULTS EXPOSED! (title card all caps) See more »




Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

9 November 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hear That Trumpet Talk See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Universal Pictures production number 1451. See more »


China Boy
Music by Phil Boutelje
Lyrics by Dick Winfree
See more »

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User Reviews

This would have made a better 30 minute short...
22 January 2017 | by calvinnmeSee all my reviews

...because there just isn't that much story here. A vocalist in a small dive of a club is flirting with all of the five members of a jazz band, trying to get her hooks into one. Why I don't know. It's not like she is Yoko Ono and these guys are the Beatles. They are impoverished musicians on the way up - maybe- living out of a suitcase. The beginning shows Danny (Noah Beery, Jr.) telling the vocalist, Anita (Claudia Drake), to leave Johnny alone - he's promised to marry her and Danny says he'll kill her if she doesn't back off.

Then after the next number Anita's bludgeoned body is found in the back room by the quintet. Johnny blacked out during the time of the murder so he doesn't know if he did it. Danny is the leader of the band, and says that, before anybody else discovers the body, they should just all pack up and leave as though they never saw anything, and go to their next gig. So that is what they do, except the police are waiting. So they split up waiting for the heat to be off. But the heat is never off when it comes to murder.

And so for the next thirty minutes you are mainly following Danny around as he is always looking over his shoulder for the police. Danny turns out to be engaged to a girl with an inquiring mind who goes looking for the real perpetrator. In this interim period that really has no surprises there is a great jazz performance by Coleman Hawkes.

The end finds the jazz quintet right back at Vic's club, the scene of the crime, where detective Quinn (John Litel) is waiting for them. Now how Quinn got this job is crazy. The commissioner thought he would be good at it because he likes jazz? Crazy man, crazy.

The ending is not that big of a surprise because of the claustrophobic scene of the crime and therefore limited number of suspects, but for what The Crimson Canary lacks in plot it makes up in atmosphere and some great jazz. Just realize that this film is more hep cat than Hitchcock and you should enjoy it.

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